Think long-term, marine and offshore sector urged

Dr Koh Poh Koon, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, at a trade event on Nov 29, 2016.
Dr Koh Poh Koon, Minister of State for Trade and Industry, at a trade event on Nov 29, 2016.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

The local offshore and marine industry should continue to build capabilities for the long-term even as it grapples with current challenges, said Dr Koh Poh Koon, Minister of State for Trade and Industry.

Dr Koh said at a trade event yesterday: "The marine and offshore engineering industry is experiencing a deep and prolonged slowdown as a result of cyclical and structural forces. Consequently, the industry's financing challenges have intensified in recent months.

"However, it is important that we preserve the industry's core capabilities that have been developed over the years, as they will be important to seize further opportunities."

This, he added, was the rationale behind the Government's recently-announced measures to help companies in the hard-pressed sector access financing.

Dr Koh said the industry should look at building capabilities to harness growth opportunities in areas such as liquefied natural gas (LNG).

He noted that demand for LNG is projected to rise from 250 million tonnes a year to 400 million tonnes in the next two decades - likely driven by demand in Asia Pacific, which now accounts for over 70 per cent of global consumption.

"Against this backdrop, Singapore continues to invest heavily in expanding (its) LNG refining and storage capacity, (while) home-grown companies are developing capabilities and building their track records to capture opportunities in the growing LNG market," said Dr Koh at the 21st International Oil and Gas Industry Exhibition and Conference.

At the event, local firm Sing Swee Bee Group (SSB Group) also inked a joint venture deal with Spanish outfit Gabadi. The deal involves the construction of small-scale LNG membrane vessels and the development of local capabilities in LNG membrane repair.

"This joint venture will allow SSB Group to bring the engineering technology, expertise and experience in LNG membrane construction to this region, and develop local capabilities in this field. This bodes very well and complements Singapore's efforts in building a regional LNG hub," said SSB Group managing director Peh Lam Hoh.

The four-day event at Marina Bay Sands, which ends on Friday, features over 1,000 exhibitors from 48 countries.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2016, with the headline 'Think long-term, marine and offshore sector urged'. Print Edition | Subscribe